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News Release

Monday, September 30, 2019

Media Relations

Detectives Seeking Additional Victims of a Latin Lotto Scam NR19263dm

Los Angeles: On September 26, 2019, detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Commercial Crimes Division, Major Theft Task Force (MTTF), arrested three suspects for 487(A) PC, Grand Theft. The suspects had just completed a complex "Latin Lotto" scam on an unwitting 65-year-old victim. The suspects traveled through neighborhoods in the city of Long Beach looking for elderly female Hispanics walking alone. Once a potential victim was spotted, a female suspect would walk up and engage the victim in conversation. The suspect asks for help cashing a winning lottery ticket. A second suspect then walks up from the other direction and joins in the scam. The male suspect usually remained out of sight of the victim and would act as the "lottery commissioner" on the phone who would "validate" the winning lottery ticket. The suspects would convince the victim to retrieve money and jewelry from her house or bank as "good faith" money needed to cash the winning ticket. After leaving the bank, the suspects would then find a ruse to get the victim out of their vehicle and drive away with her money.

MTTF officers surveilled this crew for several days as they traveled through numerous cities including Pacoima, North Hollywood, San Fernando, El Monte, Ontario, Pico Rivera, and Long Beach. In each city they circled neighborhoods until they observed an older female Hispanic walking alone, where they would then start dropping off suspects at either end of the block to approach the intended target. This scam is purposely complicated, designed to keep the victim confused until they can talk her into retrieving money or jewelry to get the "big winnings," from which the victim is promised to make a large sum of money.
The male suspect in this crew, Tito Lozada, is suspected in another lotto scam in the city of San Diego, where the victim was held against her will for a period of time in the suspect vehicle before being released. This crew worked several days a week from late morning to early evening. It is highly likely there are more victims of their scam that we have not yet identified.


Mercedes Montanez
Booking #5757651


Luisa Camargo
Booking #5757594


Tito Lozada
Booking #5757640


Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Carol Mosher, Commercial Crimes Division, Major Theft Task Force, at (213) 486-6963. During non-business Hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips" under the "Get Involved-Crime Stoppers" menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the "P3 Tips" mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.


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